Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — For as long as I can remember, I have heard say that human beings are the only rational beings on the planet. Every day, however, I become more and more convinced that the rationality of human beings is something highly relative, as I do not know of a single so-called irrational species that deliberately destroys its habitat (on the contrary, the self-preservation instinct drives all species to do anything in their power to preserve their living conditions, to reproduce and to care for their kin).
Since capitalism emerged as a mode of production superior to feudalism, however, human beings are only concerned with making profits at all costs, even if that means destroying the living conditions of the species.
The ozone layer that envelops the Earth and protects it from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light is being constantly attacked by ozone-depleting gases and, even though many people of good will are concerned about this, particularly scientists, the world’s leading capitalists do not have the will to revert the situation, for, changing the technology that employs ozone-depleting gases would involve additional spending that would reduce their profits.
The egotistical nature of capitalism prevents them from thinking about what could happen in the future. They are only interested in big profits today and do not care about the risks humanity will face in the future.
The same thing happens with greenhouse gases which are making the atmosphere hotter than normal and lead climactic and meteorological phenomena that become more intense every day. Capitalists, however, refuse to make the investments needed to reduce the emission of these gases into the atmosphere.
Climate change has been affecting us for a number of years now and, according to scientists, many island states will disappear under the ocean due polar ice-cap melting and the rest of the world will have to take up the inhabitants of those countries. Today’s capitalists, however, do not take measures to prevent this catastrophe, because that would involve spending a lot of money. They don’t care about what could happen to the planet tomorrow.
The same is true of wars, which are always unnecessary and whose one finality is to secure control over land and take hold of natural resources that are today in the hands of other countries. It doesn’t matter if impoverished uranium can cause millions of people – and even soldiers – cancer, the profits that the industrial military complex generate justify everything.
Many people of good will are worried about what could happen if a nuclear war broke out, for only a small number of the nuclear weapons that are today ready for use could destroy all life on the planet. The war-mongering policies of NATO and the United States, today trying to fence in Russia and China, could take us to a point of no return.
Cuba, a small, poor and underdeveloped country that is also blockaded by the most powerful country in the world, has taken important steps to replace equipment that make use of ozone-depleting gases. As a first step, it substituted all domestic refrigeration appliances in the country with more modern ones that use other types of gases. Work is also being done to replace industrial refrigeration and air-conditioning units, with the same aim.
Cuba is taking all steps within its economic possibilities to change over its energy-producing infrastructure to cleaner systems that do not use greenhouse gases to generate electricity, such as wind farms, photovoltaic panels and small hydroelectric plants, wherever these can be built. In addition, large furnaces and turbogenerators are being installed in sugar refineries to produce electricity from cane biomass. All of these steps, coupled with the construction of bio-digestors wherever conditions allow for this, are aimed at producing biogas, save on electricity and even produce it, result in the reduction of emission of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere by millions of tons. That is how all rational human beings should act, if they are at all interested in saving the planet (even if that means a slightly smaller bank account).